The Seeker of Peace

Provoking the Inner Child
June 25, 2009, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Suffering | Tags: , , , , ,

I have heard many times of the “Inner Child,” the idea that our childlike aspects live on within our psyche. We can think of the Inner Child as an independent entity, one who needs our explicit attention and support to meet his needs.

I’ve done various exercises in the past to connect to my Inner Child. Self-hypnosis, visualizing my inner child, trying to have a dialog with him, and similar techniques all came to nothing. Sure, I could daydream about my Inner Child as well as I could any other topic, but it never affected me more than any other daydream. I concluded that either the Inner Child idea was psychobabble, or that mine was healthy and needed no help.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago: I recently joined Facebook, and was reconnecting with several old friends. Out of the blue, in a public discussion, someone I haven’t spoken to in decades says, “Hey, weren’t you the one who…” and proceeded to relate an embarrassing incident from my high school days.

It was an incident that I hadn’t thought of in years. Mental association quickly provided several other emotionally punishing moments I had repressed. Before long, I could actually feel a teenage version of my Inner Child crying inside me, begging for comforting and reassurance. Apparently, I had repressed him along with the memories, and done it so successfully that even deliberate exercises couldn’t break through the walls. It took the emotional sucker punch of a jerk to bring the feelings to the surface.

After giving an internal hug to my Inner Child, I found a wellspring of material to release using the Sedona Method. I realized that these incidents still had the same emotional charge that they did in high school; repressing them and my Inner Child had prevented any progress. With releasing, I could quickly realize how pointless it was to carry around this emotion from long ago. How many people, aside from me and the one person who brought it up, even care about any of this ancient history?

So, in a way, I suppose this old acquaintance did me a favor. Lester Levenson would probably even say that I manifested this now for a reason. I still have a lot of releasing to do on old pains, but I do think that I’ll be better for it.


Fear of Death
March 30, 2009, 4:22 pm
Filed under: spirituality, Suffering | Tags: , , , ,

Lester Levenson said that overcoming our fear of death was a key step in going free. An article in last week’s issue of The Economist reminded me of this. The article reported on a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that religious people were more likely to try to prolong their lives with extreme medical procedures.

I’ve written before about beliefs, going so far as to cite them as the source of unhappiness. I would expect that people with strong religious beliefs would also have strong beliefs about life and death. The irony here is that many of these people believed in an afterlife, and thus been less fearful of death.

I suspect that, at some level, even our ego knows that our beliefs are merely that. Who wants to actually test their belief in an afterlife? I’ve heard people actually say they don’t want certainly beliefs tested; a common example is when religious people claim that if there were proof of a god, then there could be no faith. True, but hardly helpful for finding Truth.

Maybe this is why Lester found the fear of death such a key topic. For most of us, death forces us to face some of our key beliefs. To avoid fearing death, we have to let go of our beliefs of what will happen. Otherwise, we’ll recoil when those beliefs are put to the test.

Coincidentally, or perhaps synchronically, death has been on my mind a lot this past week. Not my own in this case, but that of my dog. At a ripe old age of 17, she’s lived a long time, especially for a pet rescued from the Humane Society. Yet, as her health fails at an increasingly rapid pace, I can’t help feeling sad about it.

I believe that when her body fails, she’ll be gone forever and lost to me except for fading memories. How’s that for a belief that causes unhappiness? This appears to be the time to use the Sedona Method. As I try to do so, I see why teachers usually leave addressing the fear of death for advanced courses.

Taking Responsibility
February 6, 2009, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Non-duality, Suffering, World | Tags: , , , , , ,

Lester Levenson said that we were always “demonstrating” (his word for manifesting), and needed to take responsibility for what we were demonstrating.

One of the big shadows in my life has been Crohn’s Disease. It’s not only debilitating, but very painful (to the extent that drugs like Vicodin hardly touch it). I wrote after last Thanksgiving about how I almost deliberately ate poorly to make myself sick. The following week, I realized that, at some level, I wanted to be sick!

That realization brought home how much I used illness as an excuse to dodge responsibility. I faced things head-on, most notably by making the decision to wind down my business. (Being sick was a great excuse not to work.) I tried to remove any motivation for remaining sick. At the same time, I used Sedona Method releasing exercises to release on the goal of being healthy.

This week, I had a wonderful positive development with my health. I stumbled across a reference to a drug that was very safe, and had very few side effects. (Most treatments for Crohn’s have the potential to be as bad as the illness itself.) This drug isn’t even intended for Crohn’s; it’s actually to help people stop smoking. Since there are some reports of it helping others with Crohn’s, my doctor was willing to try it.

It’s only been a few days, but it’s been days with barely any pain or discomfort. This has made it much easier to meditate, do exercised from A Course In Miracles, and otherwise do spiritual exercises. For that matter, it’s made everything easier; it’s much easier to cook dinner when not doubled over from pain!

My guess is that if I were less stuck in a science-based mindset, I could have had this huge improvement without the medication. However, I’m still at the point where I’d be skeptical of improvement with no physical cause. I think that’s why I needed the pills to effect the change. Still, I have to think that the fact I found the pills is due to my preparing myself not to be so sick anymore.

This is my strongest personal experience so far showing that Lester was correct. I really do need to take responsibility for everything in my life, and not use the bad things as an excuse.

Giving and Receiving
December 25, 2008, 7:02 am
Filed under: Non-duality, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , ,

For the past few days, I’ve been feeling tense and troubled. There hasn’t been any external reason for this. I don’t have any compelling stories of woe to tell. Being happy and peaceful is simply a choice. For some reason, my ego has been choosing to go the other way. Perhaps I’m punishing myself for winding down my business.

During this period, I’ve found releasing using the Sedona Method to be very difficult. It’s been similarly hard to do the workbook exercises from A Course in Miracles. The exercises I’m on now ask me to spend the first five minutes of every hour on them. I’ve had so much mental noise that it’s been hard to concentrate on them for that long.

Fortunately, I seem to be returning to normal. The ACIM lesson I’m doing today, Lesson 108, has been helping. It says, “To give and to receive are one in truth.” In my current mood, it’s much easier to allow myself to give peace and joy to others. Offering them to others causes me to feel them myself.

I’ve often heard the aphorisms that “You can’t love others unless you love yourself,” and “You can’t give away what you don’t have.” However, my recent experience would seem to indicate the opposite: I can’t love myself without loving others, and I can’t have what I don’t give away.

In a way, this is a reassuring thing to learn. When my ego is in the worst throes of self-loathing, it can be much easier for me to offer peace to others. Lester Levenson found freedom by changing all of his feelings to love. From his description, it sounds as if he started with loving others, and then loving himself came naturally. After my recent experience, I can understand much better how that could work.

Getting What I Want
December 11, 2008, 9:28 am
Filed under: Suffering, World | Tags: , , , , ,

Lester Levenson said that we always demonstrating (i.e. manifesting reality). To grow, we must take full responsibility for what we demonstrate. This week, I got a clear example of that.

On Tuesday, I went to an infusion center for some iron to treat my anemia. Normally, I’m in and out within about 90 minutes. This time, for a variety of reasons, I was there for several hours. That gave me a lot of time to think.

Since this was primarily a cancer center, most of the other patients were there for chemotherapy. Many of them were visibly much sicker than I. As I spent time sitting among them, I found myself feeling jealous. Unbidden, I kept having the thought “They’re lucky – they have an excuse not to work.”

As I explored this more, I found myself wanting to get sicker so that I’d have a good excuse to leave my job. At some level, I’m sure I’ve been harboring this desire for some time. And, of late, I’ve been getting what I want. My health has been deteriorating consistently. It’s already very difficult to do my job.

The good news is that this thought instantly became absurd once brought to light. I don’t have to get any sicker to leave my job. That very night, I sent a note to all of my clients informing them that I was wrapping up my business and would help them transition their accounts within the next few months.

As I wrote a month ago, I thought I had reached “hootlessness” about my health goal. But it only took me a day after that to realize how much my health goal and my job situation were closely linked. My experience in the infusion center made it clear that I’d slipped far from hootlessness: I wanted to be ill, and severely so, to let me leave my job while still seeking approval.

So, I understand much better now what Lester meant by responsibility. How could I expect to become healthy, when I really wanted to be sick?

I guess it’s time to go back to doing the Sedona Method‘s advantages and disadvantages technique, to see if there are any other reasons I want to be sick. And maybe, if I let go of wanting approval, control, and security, I can allow myself to have what I want without being sick. It certainly worked for leaving my job.

Goal Progress
November 10, 2008, 10:37 am
Filed under: Non-duality, Suffering, World | Tags: , , , , , ,

I wrote a few days ago about my health goal, and the belief behind it. I believed that my life would be better if I were healthy.

I’m very happy to say that I no longer believe that’s true. Combining Byron Katie’s The Work and the Sedona Method has let me free myself of the grip of that belief. As I realized weeks ago, no belief is helpful, and this one was no different.

I see now how destructive my belief was. In many ways, I’ve been deferring living my life, because supposedly things would be easier once I was healthy. I’ve been judging my life overly harshly, minimizing many good things; after all, things can’t be that great if I’m sick, right? I’ve even hesitated from taking some actions that could make me feel better, because I didn’t want to “get into the habit” of being sick.

If a magic genie offered to heal me, I’d still take the offer. However, I’m not emotionally vested in it anymore. I can’t know for sure that life would be better that way. What I do know for sure is that my life is better now that I’ve accepted reality.

I almost broke into tears as I realized how much freer I am now. I’ve spent 15 years fighting my illness – what a waste of energy! (My ego almost tricked me into beating myself up about it, rather than celebrating the progress.)

This is the first time I’ve felt “hootless” about a goal. I can finally understand how someone can just put a seemingly important goal aside. It’s because the goal really doesn’t matter. Our inner peace is available whether a goal manifests or not.

I’ve come full circle now to the post I wrote several weeks ago, seeing a dilemma in goals. Having goals is counterproductive to inner peace. I understand now why Lester Levenson said it was so important to work on goals. It wasn’t so that we could get our goals to satisfy our egos. Rather, it was because getting hootless on the goal dissolves the belief that we need it to be happy.

It’s too bad that the Sedona Method goal process didn’t work for me. I’m just thrilled that I found an approach that does work. Maybe my health will actually manifest now – it’s still amazing to me that I don’t care whether it does or not.

Ego Tricks
October 25, 2008, 9:14 am
Filed under: Non-duality, spirituality | Tags: , ,

As I thought more about Thursday’s post on synchronicity, I realized how much my ego keeps tricking me into doing detailed analysis like that. I was lucky that time to realize the trap before I had wasted too much time on it.

And, it was just last Sunday that I was feeling stuck and tempted to start reading, looking for new techniques and insights. Again, I was fortunate to realize the nature of the ego trap before falling prey to it.

Yesterday, I started to realize just how much energy my ego puts into defending itself. Its techniques are so incredibly clever that I can’t help but have a grudging admiration. However, I’m getting much better at seeing these tricks for what they are.

This is where the Sedona Method, which started me on my spiritual path, seems to fall short. The Method focuses on letting go of the thoughts, emotions, and desires that are the hallmark of the go. However, it didn’t prepare me well to recognize the tricks my ego would use to reassert control.

Indeed, as you would expect from a profit-making enterprise, Sedona Training Associates has plenty of products to let you keep “learning” more. Unfortunately, this makes it very easy for someone like me to keep learning about the Method rather than practicing the Method more. That’s not to say that the advanced products aren’t helpful for some people. It would just be nice if they had big warnings, saying, “Are you sure you want to buy this? Lester Levenson really thought you should spend more time meditating!”

As I see the ego’s tricks more and more, I’m getting better at recognizing and avoiding them. That in itself is a reassuring sign of progress for me.